Thursday, January 27, 2011

We don't own a tv.

My one and only year living on my own, I decided only to pay for basic cable.  I had two main reasons -- basic cable was $12/month and I like vegging on the couch too much for comfort.  This was pre-laptop days for me so the tv was my constant companion and I was ready to cut back my viewing options in hopes that I would also cut back screen time.  I called the cable company and switched my plan.  I paid $12 a month......and still got all 72 channels.  Did I call to complain about all those free channels?  No.  I happily vegged and felt quietly pleased with the decrease in rates.  Even though I still watched all that television on all those channels, the seed of limiting television was planted in my brain.

Fast-forward a year:  Taylor and I were living together in a rinky-dink apartment with....yep, free cable.  At this point, I was pretty sure the tv gods wanted me to get my fix of reality tv so I never questioned the free cable.  Then, Katrina hit.  A Very Big Deal.  People lost their lives.  People lost their homes.  People lost confidence in the safety of coastal living.  We lost our free cable.  

For the next two years, Taylor and I made do watching 3 channels on a pair of rabbit ears my parents loaned us.  Vanna White and Charlie Sheen became my tv buddies.  I was surprised to learn that 3 channels are more than enough options.  Unlike in the days of 72 channels and the constant search for the 'perfect show,' when you only have 3 channels you choose the best available show and watch it.  Tv viewing simplified.

I liked having 3 channels.  It fulfilled me.  Then, Hen Hen was born and 3 channels became 3 channels too many.  

 A few things I don't like about screen time for kids:
Bad guys in movies.
That zoned-out blank look on Henry's face when he is if front of a screen.
The way Disney Channel portrays life as a teenager and preteen.  
Cartoon fights.
If you are watching tv, you are not playing or reading books.
Soaking up the messages of mainstream America is not the way we want to raise our kids.

So, that's that.  We don't own a television.  Of course, *I* get plenty of screen time because of, you know, my other career as a professional googler but that is a different post for a different day.


Taylor Dearman said...

Well, I have a lot to say about this one.

1. People, she's right. There is an agenda to make yourself and your children STUPID and sheeplike by watching too much tv and becoming conditioned.

2. At that time Laura refers to, I must add, that we were technically, as MS Law dictates, living illegallyin Fornication by residing in the same domicile but not being married. I loved being the outlaw, but hten we got married.

3. The only things I watch now, via the MacBook, are A. The Office
B. 30 Rock
C. The Simpsons
D. Father Ted, a hilarious BBC comedy created by Graham Linehan.
E. Just beginning to discover other shows by Linehan, such as "The IT Crowd" and "Garth Marenghi's Dark Place"

Anonymous said...

I still say there is good tv--like Fox News Channel--out there. Oprah has a new little sister that was given up for adoption, did you know? I saw the "reveal". Without tv viewing, visits to the Dearman house has few distractions. But I was raised in a house where tv was a new invention (like the internet to you) and was on from am to pm. We only had black and white and two channels. We always watched Ed Sullivan on Sunday night followed by Bonanza and on Saturday night Gunsmoke was the big show. Every morning I watched Captain Kangeroo before Miss Gussie, my kindergarten "teacher" picked all the kids up to go to "school" in her own car. Your daddy and I mainly watch old movies, Netflix and old reruns that we tape. Can't take the endless commercials anymore. Your choice is a good one, a little overreactive for us, but hey, you have always been your own little person with your own big ideas.

love you,

TheDearmanFamily said...

mama, even if we had tv, we wouldn't watch Fox News.....

TheSandersFamily said...

We are fairly unplugged ourselves and mainly kids did the trick for me. We didn't really watch a ton of tv growing up and always had plenty to do. For whatever reason, I still paid for cable for several months and then in December, we both realized we hadnt actually watched tv in forever! So, we cut it off and are saving that extra $30 per month. I do love some netflix though!

Occasionally, if I really need Tripp to just be doing something other than asking me 85 million questions while I clean up or whatever (recall he hasn't really napped in almost a year now), and playing with various things on his own has lost it's appeal, I do let him watch a little on the computer. And as he zones out, I feel a little guilty, but dang... mama needs a few minutes of quiet, too ;)

But, you know, the other day I was on facebook and felt so commercialized. My whole feed was just one ad/promo, etc after another. Granted it was wahm products for the most part, but I totally "unliked" about 50 pages so I didn't feel like I was being spammed to buy a million things.

Frank said...

Fox New is fair and balanced. You just don't want to watch an Ole Miss guy on TV which is OK with me.

Jude and Alisha said...

Who's the Ole Miss guy?

TheDearmanFamily said...

Alisha, Shepard Smith on Fox News is from Mississippi and went to Ole Miss.

Aspiring Earth Mama said...

LOL - "mama, even if we had tv, we wouldn't watch Fox News...." So glad I found you and your blog. :) We have lots in common, especially the doctorate in googling.

Jen said...

I am laughing so hard right now at all the comments!
but, i love this post. I grew up without a tv. and I think I'm a better person for it today. I am 29 and this is the first year I've owned a tv and had cable. and that's mainly due to my roommate!
Way to go, Laura and Taylor! You guys are rocking at this parenthood thing!

Anonymous said...

By the way, the Fox News comment was intended to be provocative. It was.


Anonymous said...

Oh, and I keep forgetting to comment on the fornication thing. Taylor was writing his comment while I was writing mine. My comment: I'm so glad my mama doesn't have internet.


Lindsay said...

I don't watch tv either- except for the Simpsons and the occasional funny English show. I love your husband because he loves Father Ted. It's a GREAT show!! :)